Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder

From Pluralpedia, the collaborative plurality dictionary
maladaptive daydreaming disorder (n.)
MaDD pride flag by flowerfallsyndrome.jpg
SynonymsMaDD (n.), MD (n.) Daydreaming Disorder (n.) Maladaptive Daydreaming (n.)
OriginPsychiatric term

Maladaptive Daydream(ing) Disorder (MaDD) is a condition marked by excessive and persistent daydreaming as a coping mechanism. It's a way for those experiencing trauma, stress, or comorbid conditions to escape reality.

MaDD is specifically a hindrance and is disruptive in one's life: inability to focus; intrusive thoughts; forgetting to eat, drink or shower; emotional outbursts in public due to scenarios within their paracosm; pacing or doing repetitive actions to the point of pain; etc.

Daydreaming, in general, is not harmful and is a common occurrence, regardless of neurotype. Some individuals (especially within the Autistic groups) daydream to cope but it is not disordered to them; this is called neuronarrating.

Maladaptive Daydreaming Disorder is not an official diagnosis in the DSM, nor can it be diagnosed. It is also known as Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD) or Daydreaming Disorder.

History[edit | edit source]

The term "maladaptive daydreaming" (MD) was coined in 2002 by professor of psychology Eli Somer in his work "Maladaptive Daydreaming: A Qualitative Inquiry", and developed the Maladaptive Daydreaming Scale (MDS). His efforts have finally put to words what has been describing for decades, but is still a new perspective on what was often dismissed as simply being over-imaginative. It sits at an intersection of dissociation (due to the disconnect between reality and fantasy), a behavioral addiction (due to the calming, pleasurable escapism), an obsessive-compulsive symptom (due to the urge to daydream to ease anxiety), and lacking attention (due to the distraction of having an entire reality in one's head). There is a whole group of researchers dedicated to exploring MD called the ICMDR.

Because of the similarities between MD and other acronyms (MD for "medical doctor", MDD for "major depressive disorder", etc), online communities often use MaDD for the specificity.

Related Terms[edit | edit source]

Maladaptive daydreamers are not inherently plural, and systems are not inherently maladaptive daydreamers, but there are many overlaps between these experiences and communities.

For example, many see MaDD as dissociative in nature, in line with other disorders like DID, and many daydreamers and systems alike have complex inner worlds.

Even if the former's paracosm feels more real than the outside world, however, it is usually a fantasy, while systems' headspaces are equally as real as the meatspace all the time. They both may experience conversations and actions within their mind, which is often distracting.

Many systems that also daydream have a strong connection between their paracosms and headspaces, both with locations and members. A dreamway system is one where paras can enter the systems as paratives or previmes, and existing headmates can visit those worlds. An entire system created through daydreaming is called paragenic.

Systems can also be paracosmic or paratien, and have their headspace heavily affected by their paracosms- which would be a reason for them to not be fantasy.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

MaDD pride flag by flowerfallsyndrome on Tumblr. Cherry, the creator, cited Cherry's own experiences with MaDD when choosing the colors. "MaDD for me has always been a very Purple thing." The dark colors represent the struggles one faces with maladaptive daydreaming, but the lighter greenish blues are for hope.